Introduction And Definition Of Issues

Foodborne pathogens can exist in raw or improperly processed and handled foods. Whether pathogenic microorganisms will be present in sufficient numbers to cause disease or produce toxins depends on the growth and survival characteristics of particular organisms and on the conditions to which the foods are exposed. Infectious bacteria growing in food products have varied metabolic rates and growth characteristics and are affected by nutrient composition and storage conditions, among other factors. Many bacteria are capable of growth and/or survival under extreme conditions of food processing and storage (i.e., low or high temperature, high salt, low pH), although toxigenic bacteria generally require very specific growth conditions for toxin production. Pathogenic bacteria have varied heat resistance and some produce spores, which increases their heat resistance and their ability to survive extreme conditions. Although viruses and parasites do not grow in food products, they are capable of surviving at sufficient numbers to cause infection.

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